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Bidder Collusion

  • Leslie M. Marx
  • Robert C. Marshall
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    Within the heterogeneous independent private values model, we analyze bidder collusion at first and second price single-object auctions, allowing for within-cartel transfers. Our primary focus is on (i) coalitions that contain a strict subset of all bidders and (ii) collusive mechanisms that do not rely on information from the auctioneer, such as the identity of the winner or the amount paid. To analyze collusion, a richer environment is required than that required to analyze non-cooperative behavior. We must account for the possibility of shill bidders as well as mechanism payment rules that may depend on the reports of cartel members or their bids at the auction. We show there are cases in which a coalition at a first price auction can produce no gain for the coalition members beyond what is attainable from non-cooperative play. In contrast, a coalition at a second price auction captures the entire collusive gain. For collusion to be effective at a first price auction we show that the coalition must submit two bids that are different but close to one another, a finding that has important empirical implications

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    Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings with number 108.

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    Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:108
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    1. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Eric Maskin, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2058, David K. Levine.
    2. Marshall Robert C. & Meurer Michael J. & Richard Jean-Francois & Stromquist Walter, 1994. "Numerical Analysis of Asymmetric First Price Auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 193-220, September.
    3. Graham, Daniel A & Marshall, Robert C & Richard, Jean-Francois, 1990. "Differential Payments within a Bidder Coalition and the Shapley Value," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 493-510, June.
    4. Andreas Blume & Paul Heidhues, 2001. "Tacit Collusion in Repeated Auctions," CIG Working Papers FS IV 01-23, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    5. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
    6. Mailath, George J. & Zemsky, Peter, 1991. "Collusion in second price auctions with heterogeneous bidders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 467-486, November.
    7. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-92, June.
    8. Steven A. Matthews, 1985. "Comparing Auctions for Risk Averse Buyers: A Buyer's Pointof View," Discussion Papers 664R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    9. Lebrun, Bernard, 1996. "Existence of an Equilibrium in First Price Auctions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 421-43, April.
    10. Matthews, Steven A., 1983. "Selling to risk averse buyers with unobservable tastes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 370-400, August.
    11. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1992. "Bidding Rings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 579-99, June.
      • McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John., 1990. "Bidding Rings," Working Papers 726, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    12. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
    13. Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1767-97, November.
    14. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    15. Bernard Lebrun, 1996. "Existence of an equilibrium in first price auctions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 421-443.
    16. Indranil Chakraborty & Georgia Kosmopoulou, 2004. "Auctions with shill bidding," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 271-287, August.
    17. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Equilibrium in Sealed High Bid Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 439-54, July.
    18. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    19. Lyk-Jensen, P., 1996. "Some Suggestions on How to Cheat the Auctioneer: Collusion in Auctions when Signals Are Affiliated," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 96a27, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    20. Hopenhayn, Hugo A. & Skrzypacz, Andrzej, 2001. "Tacit Collusion in Repeated Auctions," Research Papers 1698r2, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    21. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-89, July.
    22. Marc S. Robinson, 1985. "Collusion and the Choice of Auction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 141-145, Spring.
    23. Lebrun, Bernard, 1999. "First Price Auctions in the Asymmetric N Bidder Case," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(1), pages 125-42, February.
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